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3 Cooling Yoga Poses to Beat the Heat

Part of the fun of steamy weather is finding the best ways to cool off. Sure, you could eat a slice of watermelon or take a dip in the pool, but yoga can also help your body beat the heat (and your mind chill out).
08/17/2015 09:52am ET | Updated December 6, 2017
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Bryant Park Yoga is back in New York City for its 12th season, featuring teachers curated by Yoga Journal. This week's featured instructor is Kristen Kemp, who taught at Bryant Park on Tuesday and will teach there again on Sept. 8th.

Part of the fun of steamy weather is finding the best ways to cool off. Sure, you could eat a slice of watermelon or take a dip in the pool, but yoga can also help your body beat the heat (and your mind chill out), says Kristen Kemp of Powerflow Yoga in New Jersey, who taught the Tuesday morning class at Bryant Park Yoga. Try these poses when it's too muggy to breathe, whether you're practicing outside or in the studio.

Sitali breath

In Sanskrit, the word sitali means "cooling," and this breath has an immediate cooling effect. Inhaling into the moisture of your tongue makes your mouth -- and whole body -- feel a nice inner breeze. Sit in a comfortable position with a tall spine. Breathe in and out, and pay attention to the flow of your breath at the tip of your nose. Stick your tongue out and roll the outer edges together so it looks like a hot dog bun. Take a long inhalation -- to a count of three -- in through the tube in your tongue. Retain the breath for a beat. After inhaling, draw your tongue back into your mouth, close your lips and exhale through your nose, long and smooth, for a count of 3. Try it for a least 10 rounds, working up to 50 breaths for more complete cooling.

Sun breaths

A full Sun Salutation will create heat in the body, so try this Sun breath to calm the mind without creating much sweat instead.

From Tadasana, inhale to reach your hands up overhead and place your palms in Prayer. As you exhale, bring your hands down through Prayer and hinge at the hips to fold over your legs. Inhale, lengthen your spine for a halfway lift. Exhale, fold back down. Inhale, rise up to stand as you reach your hands up and out to the sides, finding a Prayer overhead. Come back to Tadasana, hands by your sides. Repeat 5 times.

Low Lunge

Anjaneyasana

Anjaneyasana, a low lunge, works to lengthen your muscles while opening your heart. There's a quality of surrendering to this pose, as if you're finding peace with the weather -- and the world -- exactly how it is right now.

From Downward-Facing Dog, step your right foot between your hands. Place your left knee down on the mat. Bring your hands to your right knee or sweep them up to the sky and hook your thumbs. Slide your shoulders down your back as you relax your forehead and jaw and look up slightly. Lift from the back of your heart, from the thoracic spine, to find a small backbend. Stay for 5 full breaths. Bring your hands back down to frame your right foot, tuck your left toe and step back to Down Dog. Repeat on the left side.